- Original Artists: Dubliners and Pogues
- Genres: Acoustic, Traditional Hits
- Artists: Pudenski Brothers
The Irish Rover is a traditional Irish Folk song which tells the story of a magnificent mythical sailing ship travelling from Cork to New York. The narrator is the ships only surviving crew member, and being the only survivor means that everything he tells is so over the top and impossible but that there is no one to contradict him.
The song describes a gigantic ship with "twenty-seven masts", even the Cutty Sark only had 3! a colourful crew and varied types of cargo in enormous amounts. The verses grow successively more extravagant about the wonders of the great ship.
The lyrics vary from rendition to rendition being passed down generation to generation and area to area, attributed to songwriter/arranger J.M Crofts, The seven-year voyage comes to a disastrous end when the ship sinks. The narrator becomes the only survivor, "the last of the Irish Rover", leaving no one else alive to contradict the tale.
The most impressive part of the story is certainly the cargo which was aboard this great vessel, "five million hogs and six million dogs" certainly puts Noah's Ark too shame.
History has also added to some of the confusion, the lyrics below refer as do most popular versions of the song to measles breaking out, which leads to the sinking of the great ship. This is based on misheard lyrics which refers to "the mizzens breaking out". The mizzen was a third mask, a smaller mast placed just behind the main mast of early nineteenth-century sailing ships. The mizzen breaking may well have led to the ship losing its way in the fog.
A tall tale pub boast about a great ship whose described size and cargo are way beyond anything imaginable...but you have to believe the teller because he's the only member of the crew left alive. It was in 1987 when The Dubliners with The Pogues and taken from The Dubliners's album 25 Years Celebration, released The Irish Rover as a single reaching number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.
As always, peace and love to all of you!
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Lyrics to The Irish Rover Recorded By The Pudenski Bros
On the fourth of July eighteen hundred and six
We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork
We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
For the grand city hall in New York
'Twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged fore-and-aft
And oh, how the wild winds drove her
She'd stood several blasts, she had twenty-seven masts
And we called her the Irish Rover
We had one million bags of the best Sligo rags
We had two million barrels of stones
We had three million sides of old blind horses' hides
We had four million barrels of bones
We had five million hogs, had six million dogs
Seven million barrels of porter
We had eight million bales of old nanny goats' tails
In the hold of the Irish Rover
There was old Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute
When the ladies lined up for his set
He was tootin' with skill for each sparkling quadrille
Though the dancers were fluther'd and bet
With his sparse witty talk, he was cock of the walk
And he rolled the dames under and over
They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance
And he sailed in the Irish Rover
There was Barney McGee from the banks of the Lee
There was Hogan from County Tyrone
There was Jimmy McGurk who was scared stiff of work
And a man from Westmeath called Malone
There was Slugger O'Toole who was drunk as a rule
And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
Was the skipper of the Irish Rover
For a sailor, it's always a bother in life
It's so lonesome by night and by day
'Til he launch for the shore and this charming young whore
Who will melt all his troubles away
All the noise and the rout, swillin' poitín and stout
For him soon the torment's over
Of the love of a maid, he's never afraid
An old sot from the Irish Rover
We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out
And the ship lost its way in a fog
And that whale of the crew was reduced down to two
Just meself and the captain's old dog
Then the ship struck a rock, oh Lord what a shock
The bulkhead was turned right over
Turned nine times around, and the poor old dog was drowned
I'm the last of the Irish Rover
As always, peace and love to all of you!